Estonian Association of Architects / award for a private house 2021 winner
Estonian Association of Interior Architects / annual award 2021 nominee
Author
Madis Eek (Arhitektuuribüroo Eek & Mutso)
Structural design
Toomas Tammerik
Commissioned by
Madis Eek, Margit Mutso
Total area
80 (net area)m2
Design
2015
Completed
2020
Photos
Toomas Tuul

COMMENT FROM THE JURY OF THE ESTONIAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERIOR ARCHITECTS

This summer house is congenial and full of life and can be completely shut to the eyes of the outside world.Inside, there are several unusual spatial solutions and reused elements that leave the impression of being part of the same unified whole.

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When architects design a house for themselves and their family, they know quite well how its logistics should function and, as a result, it tends to work as planned: when alone, it is shut with all glass surfaces and garden furniture carefully hidden behind shutters, and when we arrive, it will open at the touch of a button with the glass wall pushed back and the kitchen and living room area extending to the terrace. The shutter-roof provides shelter from rain and overheating and in summer the daily life usually takes place entirely on the terrace. This is where we work, read, eat, argue, party etc. At night, everybody crawls into their own den and guests who have no strength to go home will be packed like sardines on the second-floor balcony – just as planned. The house is primarily meant for use in the summer and this is truly the cosiest and most relaxed time to spend here. The concrete floor has no problems tolerating the mass traffic of men and animals, the kitchen has a direct link with the terrace – there is no need for a separate outdoor kitchen, it takes only two steps to get to the terrace from the sauna and the given space can easily accommodate all guests who happen to drop by. As we learned this summer, the concrete floor has the extraordinary ability to keep the room cool even when there are clear signs of global warming outside. But it is pretty cosy here also in winter – the glass wall overlooks the forest floor, the fireplace and the glass door of the sauna stove warm both body and soul, and life without TV calls for the radio. There is one risk factor, though – when there’s a power cut, the shutters don’t move.

The building’s architecture and interior architecture are emanate from the concept of a school that welcomes movement. Encouraging the kids to be outdoors in the fresh air is a key consideration here. To make it appealing to go outside, the building’s interior and exterior are physically and visually closely integrated: the interior and exterior are separated by doors but there are also views from one zone to the other.

The school building does not have hallways – the customer wanted to avoid them – and classrooms of different sizes are arranged around two triangular atriums. The black atrium has a set of stairs, an auditorium and a library while the white one has a cafeteria and a climbing play area for the elementary grades. Such an untraditional layout allows one to choose how to go from one floor to another – by running, walking or climbing. A small gym has also been added to the white atrium. It is above all for teachers, their physical activity serving as a role model for students.

Just as people are different, interiors should also be as multifaceted as possible to offer something to everyone. So there are places in the schoolroom to split off by oneself and be alone. The school administration and teachers were also involved in the design and construction process to ensure that the result met user expectations.

The blocks of rooms are laid out with the consideration that part of the building could be partitioned off for community events. Because of that, the interior had to be somewhat more universal and suitable for people in different age groups. In terms of material and colour scheme, the interior is quite simple: timber, concrete and glass are predominant. Yet through this very simplicity, a warm and intimate result is achieved. Airiness and transparency is introduced by the interior windows with a view of the classrooms. Students can also perch on these windowsills during recess.

Source: Book “Estonian Architecture Awards 2021

Not continuously occupied, the house is closed-up and unnoticeable during the time it is by itself. When the residents arrive, the building’s shutters rise like wings and the house opens the large glass wall on the main façade and the study in the posterior. The light-coloured interior of the house becomes visible under the black yakisugi wood surface.

While the 1970s style A-frame structure is simple and minimalist, the interior contains furniture and interior design elements from different eras and they are connected into a whole on the white background. Besides a classic black and white contrast, a reason for this colour scheme was to make the interior seem as spacious as possible. A feeling of lightness comes from the space on the sides of the upstairs level and the spaces between the floor boards: in this way, light filters down from the upstairs and warm air moves upwards. The open shutters allow the interior to be extended to the terrace and yard. In summers, when life takes place largely on the terrace, it is like an extension of the living room.

 

Although the building is just 150 metres from the sea, the sea cannot be seen from the house – the forest is in the way. But to balance it out, the interior has a few references to the sea: a staircase suspended by ropes, which sways a bit, the sliding glass doors of the washroom have coastal pines printed on them, a Vääna-Jõesuu beach motif is on the glass behind the kitchen counter. A sauna and bathroom are located behind that glass, and the one-way glass, again emblazoned with sea imagery, lets one privately look out from the sauna. The interior window was the solution to a situation where it was desired to keep the private rooms not exposed to the yard yet still give them natural light. The oval window, left over from the Armas Lindgren Jugendstil villa, also ties in with the maritime theme.

The whole interior is folded up again when the occupants leave – the living room shutters are closed by screw conveyor, while the other shutters with a hydropneumatic springs. The summer furniture conceals itself under the lowered terrace roof. The house is now closed.

Source: Book “Ruumipilt 2021